At least 40 killed in Ethiopian violence

Unrest along the border between the country’s Somali and Oromiya provinces has caused the displacement of nearly one million people.

Oromiya regional administration spokesman Negeri Lencho said on Monday that “heavily armed” members of a Somali region paramilitary force carried out cross-border attacks over the weekend in Oromiya’s East Hararghe district.

“We still don’t know why Liyu’s forces raided the areas on Saturday and Sunday,” he said, referring to the paramilitary soldiers.

“But we know that all the victims were of Oromos ethnicity. At least 40 were killed in the attacks.”

A week earlier, the mob ransacked property owned by ethnic minorities in the Somali region’s capital, Jijiga. The central government said the riots had been fueled by regional officials who had quarreled with central authorities trying to address rights violations in the region.

Lencho said officials said the government was illegally forcing them to resign and that the paramilitaries had taken part in the attacks under their orders.

Oromiya officials accused the Liyu force of repeated attacks last year. The Somali region authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Ethnic violence has spread since protests erupted in the Oromiya region for land rights in 2015. Hundreds of people were killed by security forces over a two-year period.